Metro has released the final technical report of the H and I Streets Bus Improvements Study, making a compelling case for traffic management improvements and bus lane alternatives in the region’s most heavily traveled bus corridor.
Congestion on I Street caused by bottleneck at 17th Street, creating long queues backing up to 15th Street.
DC’s downtown core is a vibrant community, with 380,000 jobs today and significant residential and retail development in the coming decade. While growth will transform the core and create opportunities, it is likely to increase the burden on the transportation network that is already strained by the closure of Pennsylvania Ave.
Today, all users—drivers, bus passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists—experience congestion during peak periods. Besides high-volume traffic in the corridor, the constant friction among buses, vehicles and delivery trucks further aggravates travel experience. For bus passengers, the current corridor congestion severely affects travel time and service reliability—a short bus ride on I Street from 13th St to 19th St could take more than 10-15 minutes during rush hours.
Metro and DDOT collectively launched the H and I Streets Bus Improvements Study last year to explore bus improvements on H and I Streets NW in the downtown core, the region’s most heavily traveled and most productive bus corridor. The study investigated traffic management improvements and bus-only lane options with the objective of providing reliable and efficient bus service and alleviating Metrorail core congestion through innovative surface transit improvements.
The technical report is available for download (PDF) and posted on Metro’s Planning and Development webpage.
Four bus improvement options developed for analysis, as described and illustrated below: Read more…
Metro seeks to reduce delays to Metrobus caused by on-board SmarTrip card loading by installing off-board SmarTrip® Recharge Stations at key locations across the region.
Metro has been quite successful at increasing the use of SmarTrip® card usage on both bus and rail. As noted in a previous post, many initiatives — including surcharges for paying cash — have been successful at raising the the SmarTrip® use rate to about 90% on both Metrorail and Metrobus. As many readers have noted, many Metrobus customers load small amounts of cash — enough for one or two trips — onto their SmarTrip card in order to avoid the surcharge. This on-board load transaction can take between five and 30 seconds and, on average, one out of every 14 trips on Metrobus involves a small value load. On some routes it’s as frequent as one out of every seven. This behavior results in longer dwell times, slower rides, and less efficient operations of Metrobus.
One possible solution is to increase the opportunities for loading value onto SmarTrip cards before the customer boards. While SmarTrip cards can be reloaded online, at Metrorail stations and at a variety of retail outlets around the region, the frequency of on-board loading indicates the need for additional, convenient opportunities to add value to SmarTrip cards.
Example of potential SmarTrip Reload Station size and location. Image updates every 5 seconds. Click image for larger version.
Metro is seeking to meet this need by developing and deploying SmarTrip Recharge Stations (SRS) at selected bus stops around the region. In addition to facilitating the loading of fares and passes to SmarTrip cards and working with Metro’s current back-end systems, the requirements for these recharging stations include: Read more…
During the morning rush hour, Metrobus carries 50% of all of the people traveling on 16th Street NW towards downtown DC, despite using just 3% of the vehicles. However, it still gets stuck in traffic.
It will come as no surprise to regular riders of the Metrobus S1,2,4 (PDF), or MetroExtra S9 (PDF), but ridership has grown tremendously in recent years on 16th Street, from just over 16,000 riders per weekday in 2008 to about 20,500 this year. To keep pace, Metro has added lots of new service, most notably the S9 limited stop service in 2009.
In fact, Metro has added so much rush hour service on lower 16th Street that buses headed towards downtown DC now operate more frequently than any transit service in the region, including Metrorail, with buses arriving an average of nearly every 90 seconds.
A new dedicated busway along “the widest street in the world” has reduced friction between buses and cars, but created some new friction between preservationists and government officials in Buenos Aires.
Median contraflow busway along Av 9 de Julio.
I just returned from my honeymoon in Buenos Aires. One of the first things I noticed while exploring the downtown “micro center” was a four-lane contraflow busway along Av 9 de Julio, often referred to as the widest street in the world.
Av 9 de Julio is literally a block wide — check out this jaw-dropping photo — with 7 traffic lanes in each direction in the main roadway and an additional 2 lanes of access road, also in each direction. Up until recently, buses traveled in the access lanes, conflicting with cars and pedestrians. A new four-lane busway facility was recently constructed along the center of this massive avenue. The facility is well lit, attractive and fast: the bus travel time down the three-kilometer roadway is expected to drop from 60 minutes to 20. Read more…
If someone gave you money to fix up Metrobus stops in our region, what would you spend it on? Metro is trying new ways to get customers involved in answering that very question.
Love Your Bus Stop campaign logo
Metro recently launched the ‘Love Your Bus Stop’ Campaign, and is encouraging customers to express their preferences and desires on how bus stops can be improved through a Bus Stop Improvement Survey. The results of the survey, which asks existing and potential riders to rank a variety of bus stop amenities, will help Metro better understand the public’s preferences for bus stop features and allow them to prioritize future investments in bus stop improvements. The Federal Transit Administration’s Livable Communities Initiative awarded Metro nearly $2 million for this project shortly after Metro completed an extensive inventory of the system’s bus stops. This funding source will be the first to be deployed using this new dataset of public preferences, and future funding will be able to draw upon the data as well to create improvements that the public wants to see most.
The Bus Stop Improvement Survey and associated outreach campaign are designed to be accessible to all Metrobus riders with a particular focus on reaching minority, low-income, and Limited English Proficiency populations. The Love Your Bus Stop Campaign is designed to reach these communities through three distinct strategies:
- Event-based outreach;
- Print, radio and digital media strategy; and
- Targeted outreach to community-based organizations.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting its third and final round of public workshops in October to discuss moveDC, DDOT’s initiative to develop a strategic, multimodal long range transportation plan for the District. The public is encouraged to attend a workshop to review the draft plan and help prioritize the transportation options. The October workshops will enable you to:
- Share your ideas and observations on future plans for transportation;
- Learn how three approaches to a future DC transportation system perform;
- Review the results of our survey research;
- Provide input into the draft transportation plan; and
- Learn more about the moveDC local bus study.
Throughout October, you are also invited to participate in a survey to comment on and critique three approaches that have the potential to transform the way people travel in the District.
Public Meeting Dates and Locations
Monday, October 21
7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
625 First St NE
Tuesday, October 22
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation 7 p.m.
Dorothy I. Height/Benning Neighborhood Library
3935 Benning Road, NE
Saturday, October 26
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
DCUSA Retail Center, 2nd Floor, between Target and Best Buy
3100 14th St. NW
Wednesday, October 30
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation 7 p.m.
Petworth Neighborhood Library
4200 Kansas Ave., NW
Visit www.wemoveDC.org for more details and to sign up.
October 24, noon – 1:00 p.m.
October 28, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Categories: In The News access, bike, bike parking, BRT, bus, meetings, Metrorail, pedestrian, planning, plans, presentations, public comment, rail, stations, survey, tod
Federal TIGER Grant-funded bus priority projects are moving forward, setting the stage for the Metro 2025 Priority Corridor Network.
In 2010, a local consortium of agencies including WMATA was awarded a $59-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant for bus priority in the Washington Region. The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is the primary project manager and recipient of the of the grant, and TPB staff provided a briefing of the status of the implementation of the TIGER projects (PDF). This post provides a summary of the projects in which Metro is engaged, as well as a history of the TIGER grant award to the region.
Construction of the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway, from May 30, 2013. Source: TPB.
When will you see projects being built?
Delivering the transit system that the region needs will require an unequivocal commitment of additional resources from internal and external stakeholders. Simply put, the rehabilitation work being accomplished at the time of the writing of this document will not be nearly enough to keep up with the region’s needs, and without additional resources it will be unlikely that the region can continue to enjoy a transit network that contributes to competitiveness and makes the Washington metropolitan area one of the most desirable places to live and work.
Metro – Doing Business Differently
Metro recognizes that rebuilding the region’s transit system also means rebuilding the region’s transit authority – and will continue to be hard at work on this task in preparation for the implementation of Momentum. In the near term this means revamping nuts and bolts elements of the authority, including but not limited to: identifying ways that Metro can do its job more efficiently while increasing performance; evaluating its contracting and procurement philosophy to emphasize lifecycle contract and asset management; engineering a budgeting process that allows Departments to strive to achieve the goals of Momentum within the context of tight fiscal and financial discipline; and a human capital strategy that must have the right talent in-place and in-queue. In the long term, this means completing the journey to a much more business-like operating and execution philosophy for the organization.
The year 2040 may seem distant and removed, but in the context of transit planning, it is right around the corner. Metro’s Office of Planning is in the process of developing the 2040 Regional Transit System Plan (RTSP), which will outline a comprehensive regional transit network to prepare the region’s transit system for continued growth.
The RTSP, along with other elements that may be identified in the future, will need to be evaluated as necessary to meet the demands in the future. The plan includes a combination of core system improvements, which are included as part of Metro 2025 above, as well as system connectivity and expansion projects. Most importantly, it combines all modes in the region’s transit system, whether or not Metro will build or operate them. The strategies in the plan are designed to both serve existing areas better and provide service to new areas, helping to realize Region Forward’s vision of regional activity centers with transit options that improve regional mobility, enhance commerce and competitiveness, and have environmental and health benefits for generations to come.
Metrobus needs to accommodate growth in demand for bus service. Simultaneously, service effectiveness and reliability are suffering due to increasing traffic congestion. In order to meet this challenge, Metro requires 400 new buses by 2025 in addition to those needed for service on the Priority Corridor Network (PCN). Between PCN implementation and service expansion on “Emerging Corridors”, a bus fleet of 2,060 is required by 2025. To support this fleet, an additional 250-space bus garage will be needed along with heavy overhaul capacity expansion from 100 to 150 buses/year.